CHATEAUGAY — A state title is on the line.
The Chateaugay girls soccer team is just two victories away from claiming its first state Class D crown.
The Bulldogs, now 20-0 and ranked first in the latest state poll, plays in one of the Class D semifinal games this afternoon. Chateaugay will face Section 11's Smithtown Christian (9-5-1) at 2:30 p.m. at Tompkins-Cortland Community College in Dryden. In the other semifinal matchup, Section 3's Poland (20-1) will square off against Section 5's Jasper-Troupsburg (16-4) at 2:30 p.m. at Homer High School. The winners will meet for the Class D state title at 1 p.m. Sunday at SUNY Cortland.
The Bulldogs are led by Northern Athletic Conference East Division co-offensive Most Valuable Players Courtney Boyea and Alexis Beach, along with defensive MVP Hannah Cook. The three girls have combined to score 58 of the teams 75 goals, with Alexis Beach leading the way with 27 goals.
Cook, who scored the lone goal in the state regional overtime win over Section 7's Elizabethtown-Lewis, anchors the center of the field along with Stephanie Whyte, Danielle Charland, Taylor Winch, Morgan Legacy and Hannah Trudell at the halfback spots while the goalie tandem of starter Makayla Fleury and Holly Zeldenrust has allowed just seven goals in their 20 games this fall.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have Sarah Gardiner captaining the squad at sweeper, while Abby Barnes and Lindsey Matthews are the mainstays at the fullback spots. Nicole Lamica and Courtney Yando step in as stoppers.
The Long Island-based Smithtown Christian Knights are led by the high-scoring duo of Gennifer Vandeventer and Rebecca Giancana, who have combined for 35 goals this season.
Backstopping Smithtown Christian is goalie Hannah Steffens, who has made in excess of 120 saves this season in 15 games.
“Vandeventer has a big right foot,” said Chateaugay coach Steve Lang, who did a little advance scouting Tuesday as Smithtown Christian defeated Loudonville Christian 3-1 in a state regional game in Albany. “She has a very hard shot, and Giancana is a tall girl who can use either foot equally well.
“They both are very dangerous and Giancana is a wicked passer,” Lang added. “They like to pull the offsides trap on defense, so we will have to be aware of that all game long.
“If we are going to be successful, we will have to control those two players as best we can. They don't substitute very much, so we will try to wear them down and, at the same time, try to keep our girls as fresh as possible as we use all 19 players on our roster.”
Lang noted that his team is healthy, had a good week of practice and is excited about the prospect of winning a state title.
“The girls are pumped up,” he said. “All of the girls have the attitude of getting to Sunday's game in Cortland and winning the whole thing.”
The Chateaugay team left for Dryden on Friday after an in-school parade, followed by a practice at Potsdam High School's turf field.
Poland vs. Jasper-Troupsburg
Section 3's Poland moved to the semifinals with a 4-1 victory over Section 4's Franklin while Section 5's Jasper-Troupsburg picked up a 1-0 win over Section 6's Ellicottville in the Regional games.
Poland is led by 37-goal scorer Mikayla Blumenstock with Tara Siegle and Paige Sullivan also recording double-digits in goals scored. Siegle has 18 goals and leads the team with 12 assists while Sullivan had netted 11 markers and set up nine scores. Courtney Green has started the majority of the games in goal for the Tornadoes.
Kendall Austin and Kaitlin Huyler have both scored 22 goals this season for the Wildcats. Lauren Wyant has 13 tallies as McKenzie Prutsman and Hannah Miles have scored 10 goals apiece. Huyler leads the Jasper-Troupsburg team with 11 assists. Elizabeth Groff is the starting goalie.
FAVRET ADVANCES AT STATEMEET
Samantha Favret highlighted area competitors during the preliminaries of the state girls swimming meet on Friday at Ithaca College.
The Watertown High School senior advanced to today's finals in the 100-yard backstroke with a 15th-place finish in 59.39 seconds.
Favret also swam the 100 freestyle in 54.39 to finish 24th, which is six places higher than she was seeded.
The finals will begin at 10:15 a.m. today.